10/08/2012 12:43 pm ET Updated Dec 08, 2012

Re-Airing of the "Professor Weird" Pilot & A Challenge Regarding UFO "Kooks"

The pilot for my new TV program,Professor Weird, will be re-broadcast on the Science Channel on Friday, October 12, at 7 & 10PM , and Sunday, Oct.14, at 2AM PDT (for EDT, 10PM FRI, 1AM Sat, & 5AM SUN).

Special attention is directed at possible alien abductions in the initial episode, and, in this context, I am issuing a challenge to Lord Martin Rees, one of Great Britain's foremost astronomers, who recently asserted that "only kooks see UFOs." I am prepared to debate him anywhere, anytime, in any appropriate forum on the existence of extraterrestrial life!

It has long been my contention that the universe is literally teeming with life, that life, indeed, is the common denominator of the cosmic backdrop, that we truly live in the inhabited universe!

In delivering my lecture, "The Universe Is Teeming With Life," at various aerospace firms' monthly dinner meetings, I am regularly besieged afterward by scientists and engineers who describe their own UFO sightings in detail. These are the very type of UFO eyewitnesses that we want to put on record. However, when I present them with my official UFO report to fill out, they invariably never return it.

Apparently, they fear that they might be jeopardizing their careers by acknowledging such controversial observations or are concerned that they might be subjected to ridicule, perhaps being referred to as "kooks." So, there indeed is an important segment of UFO observers with scientific credentials whose sightings are never properly chronicled.

And, of course, there exist a plethora of UFO reports from highly qualified observers such as pilots, military officers, and policemen. At the very top of this list should be placed the case of Captain Thomas Mantell, which began on Wednesday, January 7, 1948, at approximately 1:15 PM local time at Fort Knox,KY. Ordinary citizens, state police, and every officer from the highest to the lowest ranking stationed at the fort's Godman Field observed a gargantuan saucer-shaped object estimated at between 250 and 300 feet in diameter. It was distinctly bright and moved relatively slowly at about 250 miles per hour, remaining visible for over an hour.

At approximately 2:40PM, 4 P-51 interceptors arrived from Marietta,GA headed for Louisville and were asked to investigate the object. One pilot had to land for refueling while 2 others failed to observe it. However, flight leader Mantell did indeed spot it, exclaiming: "The object is directly ahead of and above me now, moving at about half my speed. It appears to be a metallic object of tremendous size!" At 15,000 feet altitude, he radioed his last message at 3:15 PM: "I'm trying to close in for a better look."

Five minutes later, his aircraft exploded, killing him. While ufologists hypothesize that he was shot out of the air by the UFO, the government (such as through Project Bluebook) claimed that he suffered oxygen deprivation and crashed. However, I have been assured that his plane was equipped with sufficient oxygen.

Official sources also asserted first that he was chasing a weather balloon, then switched to the idea that he was pursuing the planet Venus. But, Venus was only half of its maximum brightness at that time, and Mantell was a veteran pilot with over 100 combat missions during WW2 who should have been able to distinguish between a star and a starship! I have repeatedly proposed that this be tested out by having observers on the ground and aboard a plane view Venus when it is similarly configured to determine if there is any possible way it could be mistaken for a UFO.

This is the very type of case that I am prepared to debate with Lord Rees as I do not believe that Captain Mantell was a "kook." Our confrontation can take place on TV, radio, the internet, or any other apropos setting.

A video version of the "Kook" Challenge:

Video report on 1st Man to Die Pursuing A UFO:

Could Dwarf Moons Harbor Life?: